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Smyth V.J.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Viruses | Year: 2017

Although a relatively recently emerged virus, identified only in 2004 as a separate species of avian astrovirus, chicken astrovirus (CAstV) has been associated with poor growth of broiler flocks, enteritis and diarrhea and is a candidate pathogen in cases of runting stunting syndrome. More recently CAstV has been implicated in cases of two other diseases of broilers as the sole etiological agent, namely severe kidney disease of young broilers with visceral gout and the “White Chicks” hatchery disease. Examination of the strains of CAstV associated with the two latter diseases reveals they are closely related genetically. This review will discuss the pathogenesis of CAstV in relation to strain diversity and the effects of vertical versus horizontal transmission, virus load, co-infections and age of bird at infection, all factors that may impact upon disease severity. © 2017 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Browne J.D.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | Allen E.,University College Cork | Murphy J.D.,University College Cork
Applied Energy | Year: 2014

This paper examines the variability in biomethane potential from the organic fraction of municipal solid waste depending on source of origin. Eight organic waste streams were examined for biochemical methane potential (BMP). Specific methane yields of between 274 and 368mL CH4 gVS-1 for household waste and 491-535mL CH4 gVS-1 for commercial waste were achieved. Inclusion of garden waste reduced methane yields. A continuous trial on commercial food waste produced an average of 560±29mL CH4 gVS-1 at a moderate organic loading rate (OLR) of 2kg VS m-3day-1 with a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 30days. Raising the OLR to 4kg VS m-3day-1 led to a reduction in specific methane yield. The low carbon to nitrogen (C:N) ratio of commercial food waste (14.4) led to process instability due to total ammonia nitrogen levels in excess of 7000mgL-1 towards the end of the trial. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Petrovskaya N.,University of Birmingham | Petrovskii S.,University of Leicester | Murchie A.K.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Journal of the Royal Society Interface | Year: 2012

Ecological monitoring aims to provide estimates of pest species abundance-this information being then used for making decisions about means of control. For invertebrate species, population size estimates are often based on trap counts which provide the value of the population density at the traps' location. However, the use of traps in large numbers is problematic as it is costly and may also be disruptive to agricultural procedures. Therefore, the challenge is to obtain a reliable population size estimate from sparse spatial data. The approach we develop in this paper is based on the ideas of numerical integration on a coarse grid. We investigate several methods of numerical integration in order to understand how badly the lack of spatial data can affect the accuracy of results. We first test our approach on simulation data mimicking spatial population distributions of different complexity. We show that, rather counterintuitively, a robust estimate of the population size can be obtained from just a few traps, even when the population distribution has a highly complicated spatial structure. We obtain an estimate of the minimum number of traps required to calculate the population size with good accuracy.We then apply our approach to field data to confirm that the number of trap/sampling locations can be much fewer than has been used in many monitoring programmes. We also show that the accuracy of our approach is greater that that of the statistical method commonly used in field studies. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for ecological monitoring practice and show that the use of trap numbers 'smaller than minimum' may still be possible but it would result in a paradigm shift: the population size estimates should be treated probabilistically and the arising uncertainty may introduce additional risk in decision-making. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Patent
Agri Food, Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland and University of Alabama | Date: 2011-08-12

Disclosed are compositions and methods of preparing compositions of active fungicidal ingredients. Also disclosed are methods of using the compositions described herein to improve fungicide penetration into the plant tissue, reduce fungicide volatility and drift, decrease water solubility of the fungicides, and introduce additional biological function to fungicides.


Huang H.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Zhang S.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Christie P.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Environmental Pollution | Year: 2011

Plant uptake and dissipation of weathered PBDEs in the soils of e-waste recycling sites were investigated in a greenhouse study. Eighteen PBDE congeners (tri- through deca-) were detected in the plant tissues. The proportion of lower brominated PBDEs (mono- through hexa-) in plant roots was higher than that in the soils. A concentration gradient was observed of PBDEs in plants with the highest concentrations in the roots followed by the stems and lowest in the leaves. Reduction rates of the total PBDEs in the soils ranged from 13.3 to 21.7% after plant harvest and lower brominated PBDEs were associated with a higher tendency to dissipate than the higher brominated PBDEs. This study provides the first evidence for plant uptake of weathered PBDEs in the soils of e-waste recycling sites and planting contributes to the removal of PBDEs in e-waste contaminated soils. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Murchie A.K.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | Gordon A.W.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Biological Invasions | Year: 2013

The 'New Zealand flatworm', Arthurdendyus triangulatus, is a native of the South Island of New Zealand, which has established in the UK, Ireland and the Faroe Islands. In its introduced range, it is a predator of lumbricid earthworms. To assess the impact of A. triangulatus on earthworm species, flatworm distributions were manipulated into 'high', control and 'low' densities within a replicated field experiment. Earthworm biomass in the 'high' flatworm density treatment was significantly lower than the control or 'low' treatments. This was due to a reduction in the anecic species Lumbricus terrestris and, to a lesser extent, Aporrectodea longa. There was little evidence of negative effects on other earthworm species, with even a weakly positive relationship between flatworm density and epigeic biomass. Principal components analysis showed a clear separation of anecic species from A. triangulatus, but the epigeic species Lumbricus festivus and Lumbricus rubellus grouped with A. triangulatus, suggesting that they could be benefitting from reduced intraguild competition. Flatworm densities of 0. 8 per m2, comparable to natural infestations in grassland, were predicted to give a reduction in total earthworm biomass of c. 20 %. The bulk of this was comprised of a reduction in anecic species biomass. In particular, it is considered that A. triangulatus poses a serious risk to L. terrestris populations, with implications for soil functioning and indigenous earthworm-feeding wildlife. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Wylie A.R.G.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Animal | Year: 2011

Fat affects meat quality, value and production efficiency as well as providing energy reserves for pregnancy and lactation in farm livestock. Leptin, the adipocyte product of the obese (ob) gene, was quickly seen as a predictor of body fat content in animals approaching slaughter and an aid to assessing reproductive readiness in females. Its participation in inflammation and immune responses that help animals survive infection and trauma has clear additional relevance to meat and milk production. Furthermore, almost a decade of discoveries of nucleotide polymorphisms in the leptin and leptin receptor genes has suggested useful applications relating to feed intake regulation, the efficiency of feed use, the composition of growth, the timing of puberty, mammogenesis and mammary gland function and fertility in cattle, pigs and poultry. The current review attempts to summarise where research has taken us in each of these aspects and speculates on where future research might lead. © The Animal Consortium 2010.


Kennedy R.J.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | Crozier W.W.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2010

The migration patterns, timing and biological characteristics of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar smolts in the River Bush, Northern Ireland, were examined over the period 1978-2008. A distinct change in the timing of the smolt run was detected with progressively earlier emigration periods evident across the time series. The shift in run timing ranged from 3·6 to 4·8 days 10 years-1 for a range of standard migratory audit points. The timing of smolt emigration has been linked to ambient river temperature patterns. Distinct seasonal patterns were evident for biological characteristics of River Bush smolts with mean age and fork length decreasing throughout the emigration period. Marine survival patterns in 1 sea winter River Bush S. salar were strongly influenced by the run timing of the preceding smolt year such that later emigrating cohorts demonstrated increased survival. Possible mechanisms for this relationship based on local climatic variation have been explored, including the effect of potential thermal mismatch between freshwater and marine environments. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2010 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.


Ensing D.,Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland
Journal of Biogeography | Year: 2015

A recent publication (Pedreschi et al., 2014, Journal of Biogeography, 41, 548-560) casts doubt over the status of pike (Esox lucius) as a non-native species in Ireland by reporting two distinct genetic groups of pike present: one a human introduction in the Middle Ages, the other hypothesized to result from natural colonization after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). While the existence of two groups is not disputed, the hypothesized natural colonization scenario conflicts with the sequence in which the islands of Britain and Ireland became isolated from Europe after the LGM. An alternative natural colonization scenario raised herein was rejected, leaving an earlier, two-phase, human introduction of pike from Britain or Europe to Ireland as a realistic alternative hypothesis explaining the results of Pedreschi et al. (2014). This leaves the debates on human introduction versus natural colonization, introduced versus native species status, and pike management in Ireland wide open. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Patent
Agri Food and Biosciences Institute of Northern Ireland | Date: 2016-09-28

The present invention is directed to a multi-layered substrate for spectroscopy and manufacturing process thereof. Ideally, the substrate is suitable for surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) analytical devices and methods. The substrate is ideally a multi-layered substrate comprising a base layer, metal support layer, thin carbon layer and a plurality of metal nanostructures. The invention is also directed to a method for making the substrate.

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